Translating user-generated content

UGC is a great way to boost customer engagement, hear genuine feedback and create a buzz around your business. Research by Offerpop found that websites which featured user content saw a 20% increase in return visitors. Additionally, these websites recorded a huge 90% increase in time spent on-site.

But what is UGC? It could be reviews of your products – whether that’s consumer goods, software or hotel stays – or testimonials about your services. UGC shows what people are saying about your brand or product, sharing their unique opinions with potential customers.

For global businesses, looking to expand into a new market, UGC can provide the social-proof that entices new customers to buy. But this will only work if they can understand what the content says. By translating and localising UGC, you open up this fantastic sales tool to international customers.

The most important thing about UGC is its authenticity. It’s essential to maintain the integrity of the original copy so that those potential customers trust the translated text.

When translating user-generated content two key elements need to be retained:

  1. The author’s personality and voice – it should sound like it’s written by a customer, not a copywriter.
  2. The emotional intent – if someone has felt strongly enough about your brand to write a review or comment, they will be expressing an emotion of some kind. The translation must evoke the same emotions, good or bad, and messaging as the original.

You should have a strategy in place for translating user-generated content as it happens. This should include guidelines for identifying the right kind of UGC to translate, based on what is most effective in the market.

Depending on business requirements, as well as the type and frequency of the user-generated content produced, different translation approaches may be applicable:

Option 1: Machine translation (automated)

Content is automatically translated by a machine. This allows a potential customer to see a wide range of content in their language. As it is machine translated, without any human input, it will likely be a very literal translation and contain elements which may be difficult to understand. 

Option 2: Machine translation + post-editing

This approach involves a professional linguist reviewing the content that has been automatically translated by a machine to iron out any inaccuracies or literal translations.

Option 3: Combination of machine translation and human translation

Where volumes are lower or where individual pieces of content are of high value (for example professional services testimonials) then professional translation may be the better option. The advantage of that is that the authenticity and tone is retained, which is a key element of trust in such content. At the same time, lower value UGC content can still be translated automatically using a machine, with the potential addition of post-editing as an additional step.

By translating user-generated content, you provide social proof that customers rate your brand highly. Taking the time to localise UGC will help your brand to make a global impact through existing assets.

If you’re considering translating user-generated content or any other marketing translation services our team is happy to answer your questions, so please get in touch.

P.S. If you’re about to embark on translating your website, make sure you read our guide: 6 Steps to translate and localise your website.

Guide download

Pin It on Pinterest